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July 22, 2019 12:34 pm

Artists From Around the World Transform Bomb Shelters in Israel Into Art

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Hungarian artist Taker One working on his mural on a bomb shelter in Sderot. Photo: Screenshot.

The organization Artists 4 Israel brought a group of street artists from around the world to paint bomb shelters in Sderot and help “rebuild the spirit of the city” ravaged by war, according to the non-profit.

The mayor of Sderot invited the graffiti artists, most of whom are not Jewish, to come to Israel and they hailed from countries such as Hungary, Portugal, Argentina and the US. They worked in Sderot — located in southern Israel, near the border with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip — from July 9-19.

The non-profit started ten years ago and has since brought more than 100 graffiti artists from 28 countries to show their artwork in Israel.

“Our thought was, we have to turn these gruesome reminders of war into something beautiful,” Craig Dershowitz, co-founder of Artists 4 Israel, told i24News. “Something that will uplift the community, beautify the community and will make the people not think about the terror they are living under.”

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Sderot has been hit with thousands of rockets over the years. The city has about 28,000 residents, every home has a bomb shelter and there are another 160 portable shelters on the streets, according to CBN News.

“We’re here to help the communities in need and to turn artists into advocates for Israel,” said Dershowitz. “And no matter what I can tell them, no matter what history I can share, nothing turns them more into advocates than the people who come up and embrace them on the streets.”

Dershowitz added, “Artists 4 Israel started because we saw all of the anti-Israel art that was going on.  We noticed that in popular culture people were doing everything they could to demonize Israel and that they were beginning to move into the young, progressive, urban, contemporary arts category.”

Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi thanked the artists for their work and helped with some of the art. He told CBN News, “For people to come to a shelter it means they need to go to someplace to save their lives.  They need to hide in something. So many times the children and the parents look about the shelter like it’s the dark part of the story and when you come you see a cat, you see a beautiful picture on the wall it make(s) the story a little better.”

Dershowitz said Artists 4 Israel has plans to also bring international artists to showcase their work in Abu Sanan, an Arab village in the Galilee that he said was home to many women escaping abusive relationships.

Watch an i24 News report on the Artists 4 Israel project in Sderot below:

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